Exploring the Flint Hills

The Flint Hills, near CottonwoodFalls, are becoming a popular destination.  A group of ten hikers joined a Southwind Group outing, led by Ellie Skokan, May 31-June 1, to hike the Red House Trail at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  It has been a cool, late spring, but nevertheless many wildflowers were in bloom (prairie larkspur, rose verbena, Missouri evening primrose, spiderwort and others).  A pair of orioles entertained us during our lunch break under the cottonwoods.  Following the hike, we toured the ranch buildings.

Arrangements were made with Camp Wood YMCA, nearby in Elmdale, to tent campSaturday night.  Fortunately, the weather cooperated and everyone enjoyed an evening of simple food and good conversation.  We also appreciated the modern facilities offered by the camp bathhouse.

After breakfast in the campground, we caravanned over to CottonwoodFalls and viewed the waterfall from the recently rebuilt bridge over the CottonwoodRiver.  This project and a completed hike/bike trail from CottonwoodFalls to StrongCity are part of the Chase County Community Connection Trail.  The eventual goal is to complete the trail to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

No visit to the CottonwoodFalls area is complete without a stop at the famous Emma Chase Café for pie or whatever.  Check their webpage for a list of local happenings.  I can heartily recommend the Friday night fried catfish dinner and country music.

PHOTO KIRKBRIDE

The cutline for the photograph is “Southwind members relax near the barn at the Tall Grass National Prairie Preserve after hiking the six-mile Red House Trail.  Seated (left to right):  Ellie Skokan, trip leader, Mary Kirkbride, Valentina Chappell, Walt Chappell, and Kathryn Buck.  Standing (left to right) Karin Cowdreyi, Don Skokan, Jane Byrnes, and Tom Rice.”

By Don Skokan (Photo by Dave Kirkbride)

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